September 13, 2011 by Lisa Montgomery
Sometimes it’s the simple stuff that sells. At least that’s what home automation manufacturer NavNet thinks.
The company, which has been selling its home automation system in Canada for a few years, introduced its offering to the U.S. market at CEDIA last week. Its claim to fame in the Canadian market, says company president Warren Press, is the limited amount of programming required to get a system up and running. In fact, it’s so simple, that homeowners can easily modify and add to the program as they live with the system, he adds.
The only piece of the NavNet system is a processor. To this processor a home systems installer can connect a variety of third-party subsystems: lighting control, security, HVAC, multi-room audio, for example. Programming involves choosing the supported module from a drop-down list and NavNet pulls all the information together and generates the graphic user interface, which is displayed on the company’s own line of touchpanels (8-, 12-, 15-, and 17-inch units are available). The interface isn’t fancy, but according to Press, that’s the beauty of the system. “What the homeowners see in our showroom is exactly what they see when their system is set up in their homes.”
Although the interface is fairly basic—no fancy spinning dials or special family crests—NavNet manages to make the screen fun by incorporating a few apps like a Bartender in a Box, which displays drink recipes; a corkboard, which allows homeowner to actually write memos on the screen with their fingers; and daily horoscopes. Also useful is built-in access to Internet Radio, SiriusXM and Netflix. The processor can stream HD video to as many as eight zones, and the system supports control from iDevices and Android devices.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
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